One of the best things about grandparents and their grandchildren is their mutual adoration. Summer is the perfect season for the two generations to spend time together, and Evanston has plenty to offer. Whether the grandchildren are visiting from out of town or live locally, the RoundTable is certain they will enjoy these suggestions for a special day on the town with grandma and/or grandpa.


Grab a Cup of Joe

Grandparents do not have to go far to show their grandchildren the joys of fishing. The folks at the Evanston Ecology Center have been offering free access to fishing for the past ten years at Lovelace Park, Gross Point Road at Thayer Street. Sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, this popular and free program is a great way to introduce children aged 5-15 to the “catch and release” process. No license is needed and everything is provided – equipment, bait and fishing expertise. Free fishing every Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon through October. Questions? Call the Ecology Center at 847-448-8256.

Fill ’em Up

After an hour or two of fishing, the children will be hungry … very hungry. Grandparents need not worry. Just down the road from Lovelace Park is the iconic diner, Sarkis Café, 2632 Gross Point Road. Regulars have been flocking to Sarkis since the 1950s for the ultimate breakfast diner experience. Best known for
its Ham Loretta, an omelet stuffed with ham, cheese, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and green peppers, it also has a satisfying children’s menu that will not disappoint even the pickiest of eaters.
Call 847-328-9703.


Learn Something New

Following brunch, grandparents and grandkids can head just a few blocks east to the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, 3001 Central St., to explore the history and culture of the North American native people. The museum was founded in 1977 through a gift to Kendall College of approximately 3,000 Native American objects by John M. and Betty Seabury Mitchell. Today the museum collection
has grown to more than 10,000 items.
Current exhibits include “A Mother’s Touch: The Cradleboard Collection,”
and “Earthworks,” a virtual exploration
of the ancient Ohio Valley. Grandparents and grandchildren can find a quiet respite from the busy day in the museum’s Teaching Lodge, a true-to-size birch-bark teepee. To find out more about current exhibits and hours call 847-475-1030 or visit

Snack Time

For a cool treat, Linz and Vail has the answer. Located at 2012 Central St. and 922 Noyes St., this charming kid-friendly café offers 18 flavors of gelato made from a Wisconsin dairy base and flavoring
imported from Italy. Flavors range from the traditional, such as pistachio, to the creative, such as bubblegum and cinnamon. The friendly staff encourages patrons to mix flavors. The rich chocolate brown walls and bright pink ceiling, along with big cushy chairs, add to the casual and fun atmosphere. Visitors can also choose to play a variety of board games and puzzles while enjoying their special treat. Grandparents will love it as much as the little ones do.  

A Secret Garden    

Now that everyone is filled up and cooled off, it is time for an adventure. Grandparents can take their grandchildren on a search for a secret garden. Many Evanstonians are unaware of Thelma’s Garden, a hidden gem cared for by community members and started by the late Thelma Nokes, a local expert gardener. At the end of Bryant Avenue just west of Ridge Avenue and north of Central Street sits this long and meandering plot, nestled between the CTA tracks and cottage-like homes. Grandparents and grandchildren can settle down on one of the benches along a winding path and simply take
in the scenery or talk about the fun day they have had.


Engine, Engine No. 9

Kids will get a kick out of eating inside a restored firehouse of the 1900s. The Firehouse Grill, 750 Chicago Ave., is full of photos of fire scenes and firehouse memorabilia such as firefighters’ hats, jackets and framed photos of Evanston firemen from the late 1800s. Shiny poles descending from the ceiling and refurbished garage doors are reminders that
the restaurant was once an active firehouse.

The day has come to an end, but the memories have not. Grandparents should be sure to bring along a camera for the children to use to record the day’s events. Next time they can create a photo album
of their special day together.

Anne Bodine

Anne Bodine, Community News Editor, has been a part of The Evanston RoundTable since 2008 as a reporter covering businesses and institutions; arts and entertainment; and health and wellness. More recently,...